Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 12-15-2014

Publication Title

Telecommunications Policy

Department

Mass Communications

Abstract

The deployment of Arabic, Chinese, and Cyrillic top-level domain names is explored in this research by analyzing technical and policy documents of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), as well as newspaper articles in the respective language regions. The tension between English uniformity at the root level of the Internet׳s domain names system, and language diversity in the global Internet community, has resulted in various technological solutions surrounding Arabic, Chinese, and Cyrillic language domain names. These standards and technological solutions ensure the security and stability of the Internet; however, they do not comprehensively address the linguistic diversity needs of the Internet. ICANN has been transforming into an international policy organization, yet its linguistic diversity policies appear disconnected from the diversity policies of the United Nations, and remain technically oriented. Linguistic diversity in relation to IDNs at this stage mostly focus on the language representation of major languages that are spoken in powerful nation-states, who use the rhetoric of national pride, local business branding, and inclusion of non-English speakers. This situation surfaces the tension between nation-states and the new international governing institution ICANN.